Too much C.S.I.?
Smith's local attorney Michael Scott belittled Virgill, asking, "Unless she’s psychic or God, unless the pathologists know the cause of death, how does she?”
But Virgill was also criticized for offering celebrity Smith "preferential treatment" when she scheduled an inquest just three days after her son's death - despite a large backlog of other cases.
In fact, Wednesday Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez announced that not only had Virgill been taken off the Smith case for "some remarks she made in the press," but that the entire system for medical inquests was being overhauled in direct response to citizen complaints.
Gomez said that "angry Bahamians" had objected loudly to having Smith's inquest scheduled so quickly (for October 23) while some had been waiting for years just to get a hearing date scheduled, and others "had ... been given dates for their cases a couple years ago [but] are still waiting to have a hearing," he told the local Nassau Guardian.
The magistrate added that the October 23 inquest would be canceled if tests show that Smith died of natural causes.
In a huffy editorial published today, the Guardian explained the change in the inquest system before rejecting it. "With just a memo from the Chief Justice and no warning, the specialist Coroner's Court [i.e. Virgill] has been discontinued, with the system reverting to what it was more than a decade ago, adding the inquests into suspicious and questionable deaths to the already overburdened Magistrates' Courts," the editors write.
"The fact that some people may have complained about the date set for the Daniel Smith inquest is a poor excuse indeed for the dismantling of a working Coroner's Court system," they continue. "If Coroner Linda Virgill was at fault in moving the Smith inquest to the head of the line, then say an error in judgment was made and set a new and reasonable time. That should not be the basis for scrapping a system that is needed and was seen to be working," they argue.
Pedro Ferguson, president of the Bahamas Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, told the paper his group was "disappointed that we have to go back to the old system."